Interesting Developments

Tinker, build, hack, preferably with APIs.

Dearest Delicious, a breakup letter

Dearest Delicious,

You were so beautiful to me. We walked in the clouds. We discovered so much together—about ourselves, about the world. Everything was magic and rainbows.

But you withdrew. In hindsight, I had sensed a distance growing between us.

Still, you promised you would change; that we'd be back to the way things were, and everything would be better.

And I believed you. I stood by and supported you through the rehab. I dared dream of another serendipitous future.

But there were new problems. Stacks of them. Yet I kept coming back, again and again, despite all the little ways in which you continued to disrespect me. Until one day I you gave me that about:blank stare for the last time.

I awoke… finally. I could see I was only staying because of the way things had been, because of the memory of the way things used to be, because of the thousands of ways in which you had changed how I think and who I am.

But in no way did you love me in equal measure. I see that now.

And so I'm leaving you, for I love myself too much to keep doing this. There's this other service I met at some blog over a year ago. It cares. It cares about me. It listens when I ask it to change.

It is probably true that I wouldn't be leaving if I didn't have some place to take my stuff. You can reach me here, and a mutual friend will be in touch about my things going forward.

I wish you the best of luck and hope that you find a happy future.

[Postscript: As Isabel said to Ebenezer Scrooge, "I release you with a full heart, for the love of who you once were. May you be happy in the life you have chosen." ]

Your Tweets in a Calendar in Two Clicks

Bonus click: Just one more click will download an offline archive of your Tweets.

Tweets on a plane calendar! What's not to love? And since every Tweet has a timestamp, it should be pretty easy to feed that data into a Google Calendar (in fact, it's been done). And it's interesting to look at how my patterns have changed since I started using Twitter.

Now this is the kind of thing that Yahoo Pipes is great at—taking data from one service and reshaping it to fit somewhere else. Now if you're a prolific Twitterer, it can take some time to process all that data, so enter your username (no authentication required—this won't work if your updates are private!) below, and start the process. It will be one click to start importing your Tweets into your Google Calendar (note: it may take a few minutes to render all your data. Only works on your last 3,200 updates.). This is set-and-forget, so once you've subscribed, your calendar will update automatically

Simple trick to make your accounts more secure

Q: what do the hacking of Sarah Palin's email account and the exposure of hundreds of confidential Twitter documents have in common? A: Hackers broke into both the same way—not by knowing the password, but by figuring out the answers to security questions.
While people have gotten better about choosing good passwords, those are just the keys to the front doors. What happens when you've forgotten your key? You get in through the "back door", which is usually locked with questions like, "What street did you grow up on?" and "What's your favorite food?" Many of the answers to these questions can be guessed with clever Googling. And if you've ever used a Facebook Quiz or App, you've granted it access to a wealth of personal data. Whether or not a developer has evil intentions, that data goes into a database somewhere, and THAT database could get hacked (Facebook's terms of service won't stop the leaks). If you assume the worst—that the answers to those questions are discoverable—then how can you secure your account? Like this:

Prioritizing Podcasts with Google Reader

Summary: my story about how incoming podcasts list became overwhelming, so I tamed them using Google Reader. Essentially, I use Google Reader to scan my “podcast inbox”, star only the ones I want to hear, and use that as my personal, filtered podcast.

The problem—there are a ton of great podcasts to listen to. Some of them are so good that I listen to every episode. But others are better suited to grazing, for instance the NPR Most Email Stories podcast or Science Friday. Eventually I had so many feeds that just navigating between them became a chore. Something had to be done…

So I started by subscribing to my podcast feeds in Google Reader…Media Folder in Google ReaderI bundled them all together by tagging each feed with “media,” which

10 Minute Guide to Monitoring the Web

or how I stopped worrying and learned to love persistent search
Here's the problem: you want to know when certain things get mentioned on the web, but you're not about to search it every day. Wouldn't it be great if a search could persist over time and alert you when new results appear? Good news--not only is it possible, it's also pretty easy, and by the end of this tutorial, you'll know how to do it.

Step I: Crafting smart searches

The most important part is to discover the magic search words that return what you seek. These are called "search operators." To get up to speed, Google supplies an overview and a cheatsheet. If that's too much reading, play with the advanced search available on any Google search, and you'll see something like the graphic to the right. For this example, we want to watch for any mention of Howard Rheingold by the New York Times, Boston Globe, or San Francisco Chronicle. This can be broken into three parts: